Improving the aluminum -air battery system for use in electrical vehicles

Shaohua Yang, University of Rhode Island


The objectives of this study include improvement of the efficiency of the aluminum/air battery system and demonstration of its ability for vehicle applications. The aluminum/air battery system can generate enough energy and power for driving ranges and acceleration similar to that of gasoline powered cars. Therefore has the potential to be a power source for electrical vehicles. ^ Aluminum/air battery vehicle life cycle analysis was conducted and compared to that of lead/acid and nickel-metal hydride vehicles. Only the aluminum/air vehicles can be projected to have a travel range comparable to that of internal combustion engine vehicles (ICE). From this analysis, an aluminum/air vehicle is a promising candidate compared to ICE vehicles in terms of travel range, purchase price, fuel cost, and life cycle cost. ^ We have chosen two grades of Al alloys (Al alloy 1350, 99.5% and Al alloy 1199, 99.99%) in our study. Only Al 1199 was studied extensively using Na 2SnO3 as an electrolyte additive. We then varied concentration and temperature, and determined the effects on the parasitic (corrosion) current density and open circuit potential. We also determined cell performance and selectivity curves. To optimize the performance of the cell based on our experiments, the recommended operating conditions are: 3–4 N NaOH, about 55°C, and a current density of 150–300 mA/cm2. ^ We have modeled the cell performance using the equations we developed. The model prediction of cell performance shows good agreement with experimental data. For better cell performance, our model studies suggest use of higher electrolyte flow rate, smaller cell gap, higher conductivity and lower parasitic current density. ^ We have analyzed the secondary current density distributions in a two plane, parallel Al/air cell and a wedge-type Al/air cell. The activity of the cathode has a large effect on the local current density. With increases in the cell gap, the local current density increases, but the increase is not as significant as the increase in the current density away from the entrance. By extending the cathode below the anode, the high local current density can be reduced. ^

Subject Area

Engineering, Automotive|Engineering, Chemical|Energy

Recommended Citation

Shaohua Yang, "Improving the aluminum -air battery system for use in electrical vehicles" (2003). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3103729.